By Zeena Shawa, BEng Biomedical Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering
One of the reasons Biomedical Engineering (BME) is such a great degree (in my opinion) is that it provides a solid foundation in several areas, giving you the opportunity to go down several career paths. This foundation is due to the good maths background, but also the knowledge in programming, physics, and the human body.
Furthermore, the research King’s professors do in biomedical engineering is varied and involves many different specific research projects. Consequently, this means that a student can pursue internships in several specific research areas or to further develop certain skills. For example, I am hoping to do an internship in machine learning on a project with regards to the connections of neurons and activity of the brain. Alternatively, other students do internships in artificial intelligence, robotics, imaging, cell and tissue engineering and more, or students may do internships in other fields. For instance, last year my summer internship was on genetics, and another student did an internship with the Faculty of Dentistry.
Moreover, King’s BME Department has great resources and partnerships. This includes a massive new partnership with NVIDIA, which develops graphics cards, but also the department has involvement in the NHS. What is important is that all the facilities and resources King’s has, including its own MRI and PET facility in St. Thomas’ hospital, results in its involvement in big impactful projects, such as the Developing Human Connectome project, or research in perinatal health. This also results in students having great opportunities to get exposed to research and involved in such projects (although involvement will be in later years of study or postgraduate study as they do require some advanced knowledge).
The variety of career paths is evident form the variety of research the professors are involved in, but even more obvious when seeing what graduates have gone on to pursue: from going into graduate medicine, or going directly into working in finance, banking, or IT, to pursuing postgraduate degrees in order to go into academic or research-based roles. Consequently, students either go into clinical, management, academic, research or industry roles, including medical hardware and software. Companies and organisations that students have gone to work in include GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens, the NHS, and Microsoft.
King’s offers an integrated MEng year for Biomedical Engineering and a MSc in Healthcare Technologies, which lets you choose form a variety of classes and specialise in the parts of Biomedical Engineering you enjoy most (if that is what you would like to pursue). After that, doing a PhD will take you directly en-route to academia and research.
Overall the career options for biomedical engineers are varied, so each student can go into the subject area that they enjoy most.